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For this model, if your circuit tries to draw more than 500mA of current (if you have a bad short for instance) the PTC would 'trip' (by heating up). The increased resistance (trip state) would only allow 250mA to flow.250mA may still be enough to hurt some electronics but it's much less than the 3A that the short may have allowed. Removing the short, the PTC 'resets' and allows current up to 500mA to flow again.